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Are baskets with holes in the sides hurting efficiency?

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uncleben113

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I currently brew ~2 gallon batches on the stove top using a mesh bag to mash in. To sparge, I put my bag into a steamer basket that rests on top of a SS rack, over my kettle. This allows me to fly sparge and I don't need a pulley or anything. While I previously liked this idea a lot, I recently noticed that I'm losing a lot of wort through the side holes of the steamer basket. I'm wondering if, since that wort is not getting to reach the bottom of the grain bed, am I losing efficiency points? Could that be problematic in any other way?

I'm wondering if I should drill a bunch of small holes through the bottom of a different pot and use that to sparge with to force all of my sparge water through the entire grain bed.

Thoughts?

Cheers!
 

ch19

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I follow exactly the same process and regularly hit 80 - 83% mash efficiency for my 5G batches. Just pour slow and steady and break up and mix the grains to make sure your rinsing the whole grain bed.
 

jtratcliff

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Does fly sparging really gain you anything in a BIAB setup? If you grind fine and do full volume or dunk sparge or pour over sparge, can't you get into the upper 80s for efficiency?

If it works for you, then :mug: but have you considered not working so hard for BIAB? :D

I'm too lazy for fly sparging, personally. The cost-benefit doesn't seem favorable to me.
 
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uncleben113

uncleben113

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I follow exactly the same process and regularly hit 80 - 83% mash efficiency for my 5G batches. Just pour slow and steady and break up and mix the grains to make sure your rinsing the whole grain bed.
That makes sense. I usually don't disturb the grain bed but I wind up with fine efficiency. I guess I just wanted to make sure I am not missing something. I've been struggling with some missing points post boil so I though that may be the culprit. Thanks!
 
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uncleben113

uncleben113

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Does fly sparging really gain you anything a BIAB setup? If you grind fine and do full volume or dunk sparge or pour over sparge, can't you get into the upper 80s for efficiency?

If it works for you, then :mug: but have you considered not working so hard for BIAB? :D

I'm too lazy for fly sparging, personally. The cost-benefit doesn't seem favorable to me.
I guess I'm doing more of a pour-over than full on fly sparging. I haven't tried dunking but I feel like it couldn't be much easier than what I'm doing. Thanks!
 

jtratcliff

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I guess I'm doing more of a pour-over than full on fly sparging. I haven't tried dunking but I feel like it couldn't be much easier than what I'm doing. Thanks!
Oh, yeah pour over is definitely easier... Not quite the same as fly sparging, so you had me confused...

Dunk sparge would lessen your "channelling" worry from the side holes. As the entire bag (and presumably the basket) are submerged in a 2nd kettle... You give a good stir, let sit for a minute to two then hoist an drain/squeeze. The hassle is having another suitably sized kettle to dunk in and moving the dripping bag/basket of grain from one to the other...

But the side holes of the basket aren't any "worse" than the just the bag with no basket, I would think. You'd get some liquid coming out the sides of the bag as well.

I agree with what others have said. Finer crush.
 

kevin58

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Look into full volume mashing. No sparging necessary.
 

Clarke

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I currently brew ~2 gallon batches on the stove top using a mesh bag to mash in. To sparge, I put my bag into a steamer basket that rests on top of a SS rack, over my kettle. This allows me to fly sparge and I don't need a pulley or anything. While I previously liked this idea a lot, I recently noticed that I'm losing a lot of wort through the side holes of the steamer basket. I'm wondering if, since that wort is not getting to reach the bottom of the grain bed, am I losing efficiency points? Could that be problematic in any other way?

I'm wondering if I should drill a bunch of small holes through the bottom of a different pot and use that to sparge with to force all of my sparge water through the entire grain bed.

Thoughts?

Cheers!

I use a turkey frier and put my bag in the colander, I used to take the colander and place it right into my sparge bucket (bottle bucket) and rinse the grains and noticed that not all the sparge water was making it to the bottom and was coming out the sides, Yes I believe this waters down the wort and leave sugar behind. I went to the hardware strore and bought a food grade 5gal bucket and drilled a bunch of holes in the bottem and I take my bag out of the colander and place in this bucket, and sparge this way, same consept as having an igloo cooler mash tun and sparge. My numbers went up.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/RiverGrille-30-qt-Pot-with-Strainer-Basket-TF2115001-RG/206449639?cm_mmc=Shopping%7cTHD%7cG%7c0%7cG-VF-PLA-D28I-Grills%7c&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI8Z6Lobzm1gIVhUSGCh0krAoTEAQYAiABEgLLNvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds&dclid=CK6b06-85tYCFY0LgQodWj4MgA


What I like about this is the colander has a 1/2" gap around the side between the kettle and colander, which acts a thermal barrier, so I put my bag in the colander, colander inside the kettle, close the lid but a winter coat over it and lose maybe 1/2 a degree in 60-90 minutes. No mashtun to store.
 
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Clarke

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Look into full volume mashing. No sparging necessary.
Full volume mashing equals more water than mash calculations require which can impact the style of beer. or less wart for final beer.

"For the mash ratio you can use between 1-2 quarts per pound of grain. Keep in mind that changing the ratio can have a direct impact on what kind of beer you will end up with."

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/index.php/Beer_math
 

kevin58

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Full volume mashing equals more water than mash calculations require which can impact the style of beer. or less wart for final beer.

"For the mash ratio you can use between 1-2 quarts per pound of grain. Keep in mind that changing the ratio can have a direct impact on what kind of beer you will end up with."

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/index.php/Beer_math
BIAB brewers have been doing full volume mashes for years and years. There is no impact whatsoever on style.
 

bleme

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The only problem with full volume mashing is that it requires a bigger boil kettle and more grain to compensate for less efficiency.
 

Clarke

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BIAB brewers have been doing full volume mashes for years and years. There is no impact whatsoever on style.
which is why I said "or less wart for final beer"

+1 @bleme
 

kevin58

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which is why I said "or less wart for final beer"

+1 @bleme
One of us is not understanding the other... or the process. You seem to be saying that with BIAB I will get less wort going into my "final beer"?

It does not matter whether I do a typical mash in a mash tun with a sparge... or whether I mash full volume using BIAB; I calculate how much water I need to start with and end up with the same amount of wort going into fermenter.

The amount of water going into the mash will differ but the outcome is the same.
 

bleme

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One of us is not understanding the other... or the process. You seem to be saying that with BIAB I will get less wort going into my "final beer"?

It does not matter whether I do a typical mash in a mash tun with a sparge... or whether I mash full volume using BIAB; I calculate how much water I need to start with and end up with the same amount of wort going into fermenter.

The amount of water going into the mash will differ but the outcome is the same.
Depending on who you talk to:
http://brulosophy.com/2016/08/29/mash-methods-pt-2-batch-sparge-vs-no-sparge-exbeeriment-results/
http://www.biabrewer.info/viewtopic.php?t=1985
https://www.homebrewtalk.com/comparison-of-sparging-techniques.html

Full volume mashers suffer 2% to 20% lower efficiency. If you are 2% it is no big deal. If you are 20%, you are going to have to adjust the recipe or your RIS is going to turn into a regular stout, which is all that he was saying. :mug:
 

Clarke

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I understand and I agree yet disagree sort of thing. It's been a long time since I was heavily nerdy in the beer process, now I just brew beer. I followed an e-mail back to this site and got interested in this thread and a couple of others. Not trying to argue only share a single opionion. I have been BIABing for 7 or 8 years and got heavy into the math way back when. Following that link I shared, if you go to strike water, it mentions about how too much mash water can effect the out come of the final beer, thin mash and yadda, yadda, yadda. As hop timing and amounts can effect the beer so can the water amount in any part of the brewing process. I believe the math and the numbers are there for a reason, not so I can disagree with you or you with me but as a base point for the process. A style can cross a huge spectrum but if your following a recipe and change any portion of the process you will get a different out come and even having a different system will give a different outcome and will need to be dialed in.

If you mash with more or less water (which doesn't mean anything, you still get beer) you will chemically alter the mash.

If I have more water for full volume I have to add more grain, if I don't add more grain I have a thinner beer, If I don't add more water I have less wart. Whatever I do the outcome will be different but I will still have beer in the range of a specific style.

Anyway, I forgot why I stay away, too many opinions when the only one that matters is yours to you and mine to me. I'm past the whys and what fors
 
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uncleben113

uncleben113

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I understand and I agree yet disagree sort of thing. It's been a long time since I was heavily nerdy in the beer process, now I just brew beer. I followed an e-mail back to this site and got interested in this thread and a couple of others. Not trying to argue only share a single opionion. I have been BIABing for 7 or 8 years and got heavy into the math way back when. Following that link I shared, if you go to strike water, it mentions about how too much mash water can effect the out come of the final beer, thin mash and yadda, yadda, yadda. As hop timing and amounts can effect the beer so can the water amount in any part of the brewing process. I believe the math and the numbers are there for a reason, not so I can disagree with you or you with me but as a base point for the process. A style can cross a huge spectrum but if your following a recipe and change any portion of the process you will get a different out come and even having a different system will give a different outcome and will need to be dialed in.

If you mash with more or less water (which doesn't mean anything, you still get beer) you will chemically alter the mash.

If I have more water for full volume I have to add more grain, if I don't add more grain I have a thinner beer, If I don't add more water I have less wart. Whatever I do the outcome will be different but I will still have beer in the range of a specific style.

Anyway, I forgot why I stay away, too many opinions when the only one that matters is yours to you and mine to me. I'm past the whys and what fors
You're all over the place and contradicting yourself. Of course if you change one part of the brewing process, you'll change then end product but full volume mashing takes that into consideration by adding more grain to compensate to come up with the exact same product in the end. Which you oddly acknowledge but then negate right afterwards. Looking at and changing any single part of the process, without context, is possibly going to give misleading information, and in this case, it has for you.

You are entitled to your opinion but one problem that this community has is people spreading misinformation and that's what you are doing.
 

kevin58

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You're all over the place and contradicting yourself. Of course if you change one part of the brewing process, you'll change then end product but full volume mashing takes that into consideration by adding more grain to compensate to come up with the exact same product in the end. Which you oddly acknowledge but then negate right afterwards. Looking at and changing any single part of the process, without context, is possibly going to give misleading information, and in this case, it has for you.

You are entitled to your opinion but one problem that this community has is people spreading misinformation and that's what you are doing.
I have contradicted nothing. You change the beginning water volumes with every beer you make depending on how much grain is used in the mash. Do you know anyone who makes a five gallon session beer and a five gallon barleywine and uses the same amount of strike water for each?? NO. Because they use different amounts of grain. Where is the contradiction?

This started when I suggested doing a full volume BIAB. Then someone said by doing that you end up with "less wart in the final beer". My entire stance here is that you adjust the amount of water going into the mash so that you don't end up with less wort at the end. HOW IS THAT MISLEADING?
 
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uncleben113

uncleben113

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I have contradicted nothing. You change the beginning water volumes with every beer you make depending on how much grain is used in the mash. Do you know anyone who makes a five gallon session beer and a five gallon barleywine and uses the same amount of strike water for each?? NO. Because they use different amounts of grain. Where is the contradiction?

This started when I suggested doing a full volume BIAB. Then someone said by doing that you end up with "less wart in the final beer". My entire stance here is that you adjust the amount of water going into the mash so that you don't end up with less wort at the end. HOW IS THAT MISLEADING?
My comment wasn't directed at you. I fully agree with what you have said.
 

Bobby_M

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There are a lot of weird comments in this thread. For a 2 gallon BIAB batch you really don't need a basket unless you're simply using it to keep the bag off the bottom of the pot. There's very little to gain by sparging in this case also. For the amount of grain you will use for 2 gallons, you can full volume mash it and squeeze the living hell out of the grain to recover almost all of the liquid. Any small efficiency gain you would have had by mashing thicker and sparging would be matched by the amount of wort you can squeeze out of the bag.

To do that, lift the bag OUT of the basket and squeeze.

The ONLY reason you wouldn't want to full volume mash is if you can't fit all the necessary water into the pot you have. I would have a hard time buying that because you can full volume mash a 2 gallon batch in a 4 gallon pot. If you don't have one, Walmart for $12.
 

Clarke

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You're all over the place and contradicting yourself. Of course if you change one part of the brewing process, you'll change then end product but full volume mashing takes that into consideration by adding more grain to compensate to come up with the exact same product in the end. Which you oddly acknowledge but then negate right afterwards. Looking at and changing any single part of the process, without context, is possibly going to give misleading information, and in this case, it has for you.

You are entitled to your opinion but one problem that this community has is people spreading misinformation and that's what you are doing.
I’m sorry for any confusion. If it seems I am all over the place, it is because brewing has many variables to take into consideration. It’s hard to put a thought into a post and I was lazy in my explanation, I apologize. I am not sure where I contradicted myself, because what I say makes sense to me, but if you can point this out I will be happy to adjust my comment to clarify.

I made a mistake in saying that you will end up with less wart from a full volume mash when your calculations calculate the mass of the grain subtracted from the volume of the water with grain absorption factor and all that (specially for a 2 gallon batch, I missed that). Just that some systems are limited to the amount of grain and water that will fit, so for example my system I would end up with less wart when I pull the grain when following a recipe. I would need a bigger pot. My point was that by adding more water to your mash to get full volume will alter the chemistry of the mash itself which in turn will alter the final product of the beer. Don’t expect to get the same result as a traditional mash and sparge when following a recipe. I added the math link as a go by in hopes it would help someone better their brewing process. Not sure how I am spreading misinformation when I include a link as reference.
 

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Clarke

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Brulosophy did an experiment on sparge vs no sparge. The results not very conclusive. Something like 14 out of 26 taste testers were able to detect a difference between beer made with a sparge method vs full volume but only 7 out of the 14 preferred the sparged beer. Overall the differences in the final beer were quite minor.

http://brulosophy.com/2016/08/29/mash-methods-pt-2-batch-sparge-vs-no-sparge-exbeeriment-results/
Thanks for shareing the link, that was an interesting read. At the end of the day, I good brewer can make great beer regardless of the method.
 

doug293cz

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Depending on who you talk to:
http://brulosophy.com/2016/08/29/mash-methods-pt-2-batch-sparge-vs-no-sparge-exbeeriment-results/
http://www.biabrewer.info/viewtopic.php?t=1985
https://www.homebrewtalk.com/comparison-of-sparging-techniques.html

Full volume mashers suffer 2% to 20% lower efficiency. If you are 2% it is no big deal. If you are 20%, you are going to have to adjust the recipe or your RIS is going to turn into a regular stout, which is all that he was saying. :mug:
No-sparge gives 8 percentage points (average) less efficiency than a single batch sparge, and 11 percentage points less than a double batch sparge, all else being equal. This can be proven mathematically (see chart below.) But, all else is seldom equal. Full volume mashes have a faster conversion rate, so can have a higher conversion efficiency in cases where conversion is incomplete at the end of the allotted mash time. If no-sparge is done in a bag lifted out of the mash vessel, grain absorption can be about 0.02 gal/lb lower than for a typical MLT, and if the bag is squeezed, absorption can be up to 0.07 gal/lb lower, and also there is zero undrainable MLT volume. The reduced volume of wort retained in the mash increases the lauter efficiency, and mitigates the efficiency penalty of no-sparge. Mashing in a bag enables the use of finer crushes while still avoiding stuck run-offs. Finer crush is the biggest contributor to improved conversion efficiency. The overall outcome is that full mash BIAB brewers, with well optimized processes, often match the mash efficiencies of brewers using conventional MLT's. And, if you sparge with a BIAB process and do bag squeezing, you can beat the mash efficiency of a traditional MLT.

Any high gravity recipe needs to be calculated at a lower efficiency due to the loss in lauter efficiency with increasing grain bill size that occurs with any lauter process (again see the chart.)

Efficiency vs Grain to Pre-Boil Ratio for Various Sparge Counts.png

Brew on :mug:
 
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